Even the most well-designed homes may still experience crawl space flooding. This is because water in crawl space areas is a fairly common problem. Unfortunately, it can also be a very dangerous one, causing damage to the home and provoking respiratory illnesses in its residents. Thankfully, if your house is prone to crawl space flooding, there are ways to remedy the situation and help prevent it from happening again.
Causes of Crawl Space Flooding
There are a number of factors that make certain homes more prone to crawl space flooding than others. Here are a few of the main ones you should keep in mind.
- Cracked Foundation
Cracked foundations are dangerous and only worsen over time, letting more and more water into your crawl space. No matter what other precautions or measures are in place to prevent this from happening, water will continue to seep in through these cracks.
- Faulty Design
A properly designed crawl space should remain dry all year round, come rain or shine. However, some designs don’t take into consideration the geographical differences on various plots of land, such as the type of soil, or a house at the bottom of a hill. This is especially likely when development companies use the same plan for multiple lots.
- Faulty Sump Pump
A sump pump that is improperly installed, defective, or just inadequate could cause rising groundwater to pool in the crawl space.
- Opening Crawl Space Vents
Vents are often used to keep water, debris, and animals out of crawl spaces. If you open them, you could let moisture in.
- Improper Drainage
When drains become clogged, or when rain gutters simply empty onto the ground around the house, it can cause water to pool around the foundation until it begins to seep into the crawl space.
- Natural Disaster
Hurricanes and other storms causing heavy rain can lead to flooding. When the earth becomes saturated and water begins to rise, the crawl space is the first part of the house that is likely to become wet and flooded.
- Sewage Problems
Of all the problems that can lead to flooded crawl spaces, this one is probably worst. This is because when clogged sewage lines cause water to spill into an area, contamination can lead to diseases like salmonella, hepatitis, leptospirosis and E. Coli.
- Water Leaks
Leaking or burst pipes can lead to water in crawl space areas, especially during the winter when many pipes freeze and burst. This is especially common in older homes.
Effects of Crawl Space Flooding
Because water in the crawl space does not usually cause immediate and obvious damage, many homeowners believe it is not a big issue. As a result, when crawl spaces begin to flood, some procrastinate on fixing the issue, while others might not make any attempt to fix it at all. So, here is what happens when water remains in a crawl space for too long.
- Increased Humidity
Air usually travels up from your crawl space into the home, and if it’s wet, it will increase the level of humidity in your home. This makes your home harder to cool during the warmer months and may help create a breeding ground for mold and harmful bacteria.
- Mold & Bacteria Growth
Mold can then trigger respiratory illnesses in family members, especially children and the elderly. If the water seeping into the crawl space is from the sewer system, then contamination can lead to the spread of disease-causing bacteria. Thus, this needs to be resolved immediately, often by completely removing and replacing contaminated material.
- Property Damage
When moisture seeps into the material of your home, it can begin to cause water damage and rot in the walls and floors. Over time, not only does this disfigure the home and cause structural damage, but it can also lead to injury or death as walls or roofs cave in.
What to Do When There’s Water in the Crawl Space
Naturally, the longer these issues remain unresolved, the worse they become. And, the worse they become, the more expensive it is to fix it. So, if your house is prone to crawl space flooding for any of the aforementioned reasons, consider the following options to remedy the issue.
- Use a Wet-Vac
If the water in your crawl space is just a few puddles, then use a wet vac to suck up the water. Be sure to empty the vacuum away from the house and not right by the foundation.
- Use a General-Purpose Pump
A general purpose pump can be effective at removing water from crawl spaces, provided the water is only about an inch deep or less.
- Remove Wet Material
Once the settled water is cleared away, it’s important to remove wet items in the area as well. This may include debris, stored items, and soaked insulation. Dirt should also be removed from the area as it attracts moisture and may worsen the spread of mold and bacteria.
- Use a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier built for regular home use should suffice. Plug it in, turn it on, and monitor it throughout the day. Be sure to empty the collected water away from the foundation.
- Hire Professionals
To ensure the space is properly dried and there is no contamination, it is always best to hire professionals to inspect the crawl space and implement the best permanent solutions. It may cost you more money in the short run, but it could save you big bucks over time.
How to Prevent Crawl Space Flooding
Here are more long-term or permanent solutions to prevent the flooding of crawl spaces.
- Clean Drains
Don’t wait until your pipes or drains clog up to invest in cleaning them. Get your pipes tested and cleaned once every two years by professionals. In between professional cleanings, you can use hot water, vinegar, and baking soda to keep your drains clear.
- Repair Cracks
Check your home’s foundation regularly for cracks, especially after a natural disaster, and have those cracks repaired immediately by a professional.
- Provide Proper Drainage
Proper drainage helps to keep water away from the house and its foundations. Ensure that your downspouts are properly installed and that your drainage system is not clogged. Extensions at the bottom of downspouts also help to direct water away from the foundation.
A little landscaping could go a long way to ensure your lawn slopes away from your home. This steers water away from the foundation and prevents pooling.
At United Water Restoration, we understand how frustrating it can be when there are issues in the home that may cause not only minor annoyances, but structural damage to your investment. But, more importantly, we also understand what it takes to return your home to its former condition — or better.
Rather than tackle the issue of a wet crawl space on your own, possibly overlooking bigger problems in the process, let us take care of the damage for you. As part of our work process, we will replace contaminated or water-damaged material. We also clean mold and harmful bacteria from the area to ensure you and your family remain healthy and safe.
Is the crawl space of your home prone to flooding? Call 1-800-743-2064 or click here to find a United Water Restoration office near you. We offer 24/7 statewide emergency service, so feel free to call us any time on any day. We’re here for you.